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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says a fired vice president who claims he deserves whistleblower protection had falsified college transcripts to get hired at company headquarters in 1996. The company released a copy of a transcript that Jared Bowen submitted when he was under consideration for a home-office job in 1996, as well as a copy of what Bowen’s lawyer said was an accurate transcript. The altered transcript showed A’s and B’s, while the accurate one showed many F’s, D’s and C’s. Wal-Mart claimed that the forgery showed that Bowen couldn’t be trusted. “This forgery was not some quick lie blurted out in a moment of panic,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Mona Williams said Thursday. “It was deliberate, premeditated and crafted for his own gain.” Bowen’s lawyer claimed Friday that Bowen confessed to the forgery and was forgiven when he was rehired by the company in 1997 after a nine-month hiatus. Wal-Mart denied that claim and said two executives who rehired Bowen disputed the assertion that he confessed to altering his transcript the year before. In a complaint filed in May with the federal Labor Department, Bowen claims he was fired March 30 after helping uncover alleged misspending by senior executive Thomas M. Coughlin. The complaint argues that Bowen’s dismissal violated a federal law that bars companies from punishing employees who report corporate wrongdoing. Coughlin was president and chief executive of Wal-Mart’s Stores Division until he retired in January, and was board vice chairman until he was asked to step down in March. Coughlin, through his attorney, has denied wrongdoing. Wal-Mart says Bowen deserves no whistleblower protection because he was part of the scheme to defraud the company. According to the company, the scheme was brought to its attention by somebody other than Bowen. Bowen has asked the Labor Department to order Wal-Mart to give him his job back and compensate him for missed pay and benefits. Bowen’s attorney, Steve Kardell, confirmed that Bowen forged a transcript he submitted to the company in 1996. Kardell said the company obtained from him a copy of the accurate transcript from Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff. The transcript that Kardell said his client originally submitted to Wal-Mart shows grades of A’s and B’s in 36 classes. The authentic transcript shows 10 F’s, four D’s and 13 C’s mixed in with a few A’s and B’s. “Obviously, there’s a little disconnect,” Kardell said. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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